MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday reminded the public to strictly observe minimum health protocols to curb the transmission of COVID-19 amid the recent surge of cases of the deadly respiratory disease.
Duterte blamed noncompliance with health protocols for the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
“Well, what’s the reason for this? Well, those who don’t believe in social distancing, those who don’t believe in personal hygiene,” he said speaking partly in Filipino, in his pre-recorded weekly public address.
“What the doctors are asking for your own benefit is wash your hands, cover yourself with a mask, clean your hands,” he added.
He reminded the public to observe social distancing, wear face masks and face shields, always wash hands, and avoid coughing in public.
“There’s no other solution,” he said, noting that the coronavirus could easily be transmitted.
He also suggested, as he did in July 2020, that gasoline could be used as a COVID-19 disinfectant.
“As I told you, go to a gasoline station. I’m not trying to make you laugh,” he said.
He suggested asking a gasoline station attendant for some fuel for handwashing.
In the same briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said his department had noted an increase of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Central Visayas.
Pasay and Malabon were already tagged as “critical risk” areas, while Navotas, Makati, and San Juan were tagged as “high risk.”
In health care utilization rates, Central Visayas and Cordillera Administrative Region posted the highest, with 48% and 47%, respectively.
National government officials also met with Metro Manila mayors last Saturday to discuss actions that could be taken to curb the increase in COVID-19 cases, according to Duque.
On Monday, the number of new COVID-19 cases exceeded the 3,000-mark for the fourth consecutive day, bringing the total of cases to more than 597,000.
The Octa Research team earlier warned that the Philippines might see 5,000 to 6,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by the end of March.
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